Thursday, April 13, 2017


Opening Day and Other Stuff

The Toronto Blue Jays flew out of Tampa last Sunday after dropping the last game of a four game series against the Rays, 7-2. They had the day off, on Monday, to prepare for their Home Opener yesterday, against the Brewers. It has not exactly been a picnic this far this season for the Jays.

                                                                Tropicana Field-2017

Tropicana Field is a two hour drive north of Fort Myers, just off Highway # 75. It is a piece of cake to reach the parking lot, with a short walk to the field. Do not worry if you do not have tickets before reaching the Dome. The announced crowd was a little over 15 000, but I suspect there were far fewer bums in seats. The do everything possible to attract the fans-bobble heads, back packs...all kinds of giveaways. Many seats remain vacant.

                                                         Wonderful Bridge to Baseball

The Rays are playing good baseball. They spotted the Jays two runs in the first inning, off a Josh Donaldson home run, a walk to Bautista, and a double by newcomer Kendrys Morales. At that point, the door was shut. Quite solidly. Morales was hit by an Odorizzi pitch to start the fourth inning, but was doubled off. He was the only baserunner for the Jays until the two out double by Bautista in the ninth. The Rays had recorded 25 outs, without a hit or a base-on-balls.

They put up four runs in the third inning on home runs by Dickerson and Souza. The added another run in the 4th, and two in the 8th, off a series of “miscalculations” by the Jays. Marco Estrado took the loss for the Jays, after five innings of work. Tepera, Loup, and Lawrence finished the pitching assignment for the Jays. Odorizzi got the win for the Rays, with assistance from Jumbo Diaz in the 7th and Tommy Hunter in the 9th.

Diaz is a bit of a phenomenon. He was signed by the Dodgers in 2001, but did not see Major League action until 2014, at the age of 30. The native of the Domican Republic, he is listed at 6' 4”, and 278 pounds. He is a huge guy. His pockets were empty when they weighed him. He did look a little like CC Sabathia, from the cheap seats.

The Blue Jays tied their worst start in club history wit the loss. They have won once, in their first six games. Let us not forget it is a very long season, and it is early. Nonetheless, most Blue Jay fans would like to see many victories during their long home stand against the Brewers, the Orioles and the Red Sox.
For some reason, the Jays have always had trouble against the Rays, especially in Tampa. They have won 33 games, but have lost 61! Go figure.

                                                 Hammond Stadium, Opening Night

Last Saturday night was Opening Night for the Fort Myers Miracle. Hammond Stadium was packed, with the assistance of Wendy's Restaurant which gave out thousands of free tickets for the game. Free fireworks followed the Miracle win over the Jupiter Hammerheads. The teams play in the Florida StateLeague, along with the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Perhaps a little of your sporting focus has been captured by the games leading up to the Stanley Cup finals. Aunt Tilly has the chips and cold ones lined up beside the channel changer on her table beside her chair. I dare you to sit there! She will be watching her Leafs take on the Capitals, and that ogre Ovechkin. But she will also keep an eye on Ottawa-Boston, Pittsburgh-Columbus, Montreal-Rangers, Hawks and Predators, Ducks and Flames, Blues and Wild, and Oilers and Sharks. Your guess is as good as, or likely better than mine to determine the outcmes.

And a special tip of the golf hat to Sergio! Senor Garcia finally won the Masters, his first Major after 71 tries. I know he has a big following in many parts of the County. That will be another story, some day.

James Hurst
April 10, 2017.

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